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Monday, May 17, 2021

IU, Purdue dominate All-Big Ten

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Purdue and Indiana, which finished second and third in the Big Ten basketball standings behind regular-season champion Wisconsin, led the all-conference honors announced on Monday.

IU senior forward D.J. White was voted the Player of the Year by coaches and media, and Eric Gordon was voted Freshman of the Year by both.

Purdue’s Matt Painter was named Coach of the Year by both coaches and media, while the Boilermakers’ Chris Kramer was voted Defensive Player of the Year by coaches.

White and Gordon were joined by Purdue’s Robbie Hummel and Wisconsin’s Brian Butch on the All-Big Ten first teams. Michigan State’s Drew Neitzel was the fifth first-teamer by coaches, while Ohio State’s Jamar Butler was the fifth first-teamer by media.

Purdue’s E’Twaun Moore was voted second team by coaches and media. IU’s Armon Bassett was third team by both; Kramer was third team by media.

Chosen honorable mention were Purdue’s Keaton Grant and Kramer (coaches), and IU’s Jamarcus Ellis and Grant (media). IU’s Adam Ahlfeld and Purdue’s Bobby Riddell were Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honorees.

White’s selection wasn’t surprising; he was a unanimous choice by coaches.

He finished second in the Big Ten in scoring (17.1 points per game) behind only Gordon’s 21.5, led the league in rebounding (10.3 per game) and field-goal percentage (61.0), and was fourth in blocked shots per game (1.58).

“D.J. is everything you want a senior leader to be,” IU coach Dan Dakich said after the Hoosiers’ final home game last week. “He plays with passion and works every day to make himself better.

“He’s a very deserving player.”

Gordon, whose decision to sign with IU after earlier committing to Illinois sparked controversy even before he stepped on campus in Bloominigton, led the Big Ten in scoring and IU in minutes played, averaging nearly 35 per game. He was fourth in the league in free-throw percentage (85.3) while taking 60 more than any other player, sixth in 3-pointers made per game (2.33) and 12th in steals per game (1.30).

“With D.J. and Gordon, Indiana has probably the best combination of any team in the country,” said Minnesota coach Tubby Smith, whose Gophers could face IU in a Big Ten quarterfinal game on Friday night. “Those are two very, very, very talented players.”

Hummel became Purdue’s 29th first-team selection of all-time, but the first to be picked as a true freshman. In Big Ten games only, he averaged 13.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists.

“It’s quite an honor for anyone to be named first team in this league, let alone a freshman,” said Painter. “Robbie has gotten better and better as the season has progressed. He’s a guy we count on to do a lot of things.”

Moore, also a freshman, led the Boilermakers in scoring in Big Ten games at 14.4. He also averaged 3.9 rebounds and led Purdue in assists during the Big Ten season.

“E’Twaun really hit a wall in December,” said Painter. “To his credit, he kept plugging away and once we got into the conference season, he really stepped up all elements of his game. He’s a very good all-around player.”

Bassett, a sophomore, averaged 11.3 points and, despite a late slump, was second in the Big Ten in 3-point percentage (45.0). He was sixth in the league in assists-to-turnovers (3.2-1.8).

Kramer, a sophomore, led the league in steals (2.23 per game) in making the all-defensive team for a second time.

“Chris is a game-changer,” said Painter. “His defense is obvious, but he does a lot of other things that don’t show up in box scores that help us win basketball games.”

IU’s Ellis, a junior, was third in the league in rebounding (7.3 per game), eighth in assists (3.58 per game) and sixth in steals (1.53 per game).

He did not play in Sunday’s overtime loss at Penn State which cost the Hoosiers the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten tournament, left home for what Dakich called a violation of team rules.

Dakich did not say when Ellis would return “That’s up to Jamarcus,’’ he said. “It certainly will be something he can do. It’s going to be based on his behavior and his reactions to things. We’ll see.”

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